I rarely order official race photos. In fact, I've never really ordered any. I bought one at the Newport Marathon only because it was right there already printed up after the race and it seemed easy enough to pay $10 for a race souvenir. I never even bought my Boston pictures from 2004 or pictures from my first and fastest marathon in 2003. The small picture they send you in the mail has always been plenty for me. But as I looked back over this year and thought of my races, one race came to mind that I might really love to have a few pictures from. The Sauvie Island Marathon this July. As I thought more about why I wanted to order some of the photos, I realized that if I had to choose just one race, this would be the race I would say was my best race. My favorite. The race that brings the happiest and most satisfied feelings. When I look at my pictures from this marathon, I feel so much joy. I can't help but smile.
This got me thinking about what determines a great race. It doesn't always mean a personal record, an age group placement, or feeling great the whole time. So much can go into making a race one that we put on our "FAVORITE RACE" list. Some of the things we might consider are:
- Who we ran with.
- How we felt physically and mentally.
- Did we meet a goal?
- Did we execute our race plan?
- Strong finish.
- A special cause that is dear to our hearts.
- The first time we conquered a certain distance.
- A race that made us believe in ourselves on a deeper level.
A bit of background information: I was training for the Newport Marathon in June 2011. This was my peak race. I trained very hard as we always do when we train for a marathon. Unfortunately, as is often the story of training, it doesn't always go as planned. I experienced over training, small injuries and weeks where I had to take time off. On race day my plan of a 3:15 marathon ended up being a fight to just finish. I finished in 3:30:17. Some might agree that I took off too fast. I'd also like to think of it as taking a risk and believing in myself but just not having it in me that day. I think that this is what it takes to make big things happen sometimes..taking risks. If we save too much at the start of the race, then we might not have it in us to make these big things happen later in the race. However, I do agree that I took off a bit too fast. It was a learning experience. As soon as I finished, I vowed never to run another marathon again. Of course, even before I went to bed that night, I was already planning for my next marathon. That happened to be The Sauvie Island Marathon four weeks later on July 4th. My only goal was to run a strong progressive marathon and experience what it feels like to feel strong the second half of a marathon. I didn't want to PR or run the fastest splits. I just wanted to be smart and experience this progression thing that people talk about and that I had always been AWFUL at. Secretly, I also wanted a better qualifying time for Boston.
My husband had never trained for a marathon but last minute he decided to run the marathon with me (running a marathon untrained is not advised and can cause serious injury). We ended up running together and finishing strong with a 3:24:25. I even finished with a smile on my face! It was the best race of my life on so many levels. Here are just some of them:
- We started off slow and finished strong. Miles 23,22, 23 and 26 were my fastest miles.
- I was running with my best friend.
- My husband and I seemed to feed off of each other perfectly. We shared fuel, water, and encouraged each other. We even drafted off of each other.
- I BELIEVED in myself and was hungry for the race.
- I felt strong the entire race. The last few miles felt amazing and although I was definitely feeling it, I was able to rise above it all and zone in.
- It wasn't my fastest race but I learned SO much from it and it was the race I had the most control with.
- My mind was always in the game.
- Mile 25 I experienced a pretty powerful emotional moment that made me feel like my dad was there. This was one the most memorable parts and it was the hardest mile of my entire race. After this experience in mile 25, I felt so strong for mile 26 and ended up finishing at a 6:49 pace.
- The weather was a perfect temperature with such a beautiful blue sky and Oregon country to run through.
- This race gave me a new level of confidence that is now feeding my excited for Boston Training to begin.
- It was my first time racing with music and a water belt...this was nice.
- I met ALL MY GOALS: start slow, finish strong, keep a great form, fuel appropriately, take in enough water.
So, this will be a time when I purchase some race photos. Not only was it my favorite race on so many levels, it was my husband's very first marathon. We did it together and learned a lot about how well we work together. It was one of the best memories we have as a couple. Since I will be purchasing some of these photos, I don't feel so bad about using these to share on my blog. You can see the joy in my face. Both of us.
|Mile 26. I've got this!|
|In the zone together. Note: I will be making it a goal to keep more weight on this time around. Eating LOTS more good food. I got way too skinny last time.|
|Second half of the race. Feeling strong and happy.|
|Good friend Nicole took this one at the finish line. One of my favorite pictures. Sweaty and Satisfied! And you can see the GU all over my arm. Ha! LOVED THIS RACE!!|
Just writing about this marathon makes me feel so SUPER CHARGED and Happy to be close to beginning Boston Training!
Your turn! Tell me what your favorite race memory is. What's the race that comes to mind when you close your eyes and think about your favorite race? And why is it your favorite??
I really do want to know about your favorite race so please share. Your memorable race experiences are charging for me to read about...they make me even more excited about racing again!